Directional Scanning Circular Phased Array Antenna - Patent 5243358 by Patents-46

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United States Patent: 5243358


































 
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	United States Patent 
	5,243,358



 Sanford
,   et al.

 
September 7, 1993




 Directional scanning circular phased array antenna



Abstract

A directional scanning antenna includes a circular array of a plurality of
     antenna elements extending several wavelengths in diameter. The number of
     antenna elements are sufficient to form a plurality of
     directionally-oriented subsets of active antenna elements and associated
     subsets of parasitic antenna elements. An antenna feed system provides
     connections to each one of the plurality of antenna elements that include
     connections to electronically variable reactances and connections to a
     source or receiver of electromagnetic energy. The antenna feed system is
     controllable to provide connections between the subsets of active antenna
     elements providing wave propagation and reception in one or more
     directions and to provide connections between a plurality of the remainder
     of antenna elements in associated subsets of parasitic antenna elements to
     assist the directionality of the antennas.


 
Inventors: 
 Sanford; Gary G. (Boulder, CO), Westfeldt, Jr.; Patrick M. (Boulder, CO) 
 Assignee:


Ball Corporation
 (Muncie, 
IN)





Appl. No.:
                    
 08/002,691
  
Filed:
                      
  January 11, 1993

 Related U.S. Patent Documents   
 

Application NumberFiling DatePatent NumberIssue Date
 730339Jul., 1991
 

 



  
Current U.S. Class:
  343/836  ; 343/700MS; 343/819; 343/853; 343/876
  
Current International Class: 
  H01Q 21/22&nbsp(20060101); H01Q 19/00&nbsp(20060101); H01Q 3/00&nbsp(20060101); H01Q 3/44&nbsp(20060101); H01Q 003/240&nbsp(); H01Q 003/300&nbsp(); H01Q 001/380&nbsp()
  
Field of Search: 
  
  










 343/7MS,815,817,819,876,833-837,844,853,705,708,893
  

References Cited  [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents
 
 
 
3096520
July 1963
Ehrenspeck

3109175
October 1963
Lloyd

3218645
November 1965
Ehrenspeck

3255450
June 1966
Butler

3307188
February 1967
Marchetti et al.

3495263
February 1970
Amitay et al.

3508278
April 1970
Ehrenspeck

3560978
February 1971
Himmel et al.

3611401
October 1971
Connolly

3858221
December 1974
Harrison et al.

3877014
April 1975
Mailloux

3883875
May 1975
McClymont et al.

4052723
October 1977
Miller

4053895
October 1977
Malagisi

4090203
May 1978
Duncan

4260994
April 1981
Parker

4360813
November 1982
Fitzsimmons

4631546
December 1986
Dumas et al.

4700197
October 1987
Milne et al.

4797682
January 1989
Klimczak

4849763
July 1989
DuFort

5019829
May 1991
Heckman et al.



 Foreign Patent Documents
 
 
 
2589011
Apr., 1987
FR

2602614
Feb., 1988
FR



   
 Other References 

"Reactively Controlled Directive Arrays", IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, vol. A-26, No. 3, pp. 390-395, May, 1978, Roger F.
Harrington.
.
Complete translation of French Patent Publication #2589011 to Drabowitch et al. 16 pages (Apr. 1987).
.
Translation of French Patent Publication #2602614 (Feb. 1988) to Jolly et al. 14 pages..  
  Primary Examiner:  Hille; Rolf


  Assistant Examiner:  Brown; Peter Toby


  Attorney, Agent or Firm: Alberding; Gilbert E.



Parent Case Text



This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 07/730,339,
     filed Jul. 15, 1991, now abandoned.

Claims  

What is claimed is:

1.  A directional scanning antenna, comprising:


a circular array of antenna elements extending at least one wavelength in diameter over an area, the number of such antenna elements being sufficient to form a plurality of active subsets of active antenna elements and associated subsets of
passive parasitic antenna elements;


each of said plurality of active subsets of active antenna elements forming a band of active antenna elements with the band of each subset extending in a direction in the circular array of antenna elements;  and


an antenna element feed system providing connections to each one of a plurality of said antenna elements that include connections to electronically variable reactances and connections to a source or receiver of electromagnetic energy,


said feed system being controllable to provide active feed connections between at least one of said plurality of subsets of active antenna elements and said source or receiver of electromagnetic radiation providing wave propagation or reception
in one direction over the array and to provide reactive connections between said associated subsets of passive parasitic antenna elements and an adjacent ground plane through said electronically variable reactances to assist the directionality of wave
propagation from said at least one subset of active antenna elements.


2.  The antenna of claim 1 wherein said feed system is controllable to provide active connections between each of said plurality of subsets of active antenna elements and said source or receiver of electromagnetic radiation providing wave
propagation in different directions and to provide reactive connections between said associated subsets of passive parasitic antenna elements and said electronically variable reactances to assist the wave propagation in said different directions.


3.  The antenna of claim 2 wherein said feed system is controllable to provide said connections to each of said plurality of subsets of active antenna elements and to each of said associated subsets of passive parasitic elements in a sequence
scanning around the circular array.


4.  The antenna of claim 1 wherein said electronically variable reactances comprise MMIC chips.


5.  The antenna of claim 1 wherein said active antenna elements in at least one of the plurality of active subsets are arranged to provide a phased array.


6.  The antenna of claim 5 wherein said active antenna elements are driven from said source of electromagnetic energy through a plurality of phase shifters.


7.  The antenna of claim 1 wherein said area is formed on a substantially planar dielectric substrate, and said antenna elements form a plurality of concentric outer and inner rings providing said circular array of antenna elements, each of said
plurality of concentric rings having a plurality of antenna elements, said antenna elements of at least one of said outer concentric rings being adapted for connection by said antenna feed system to said source or receiver of electromagnetic energy to
provide said plurality of active subsets in bands within a plurality of sectors of said at least one outer concentric ring, said plurality of sectors of active subsets being located about said concentric ring on a plurality of diameters, a plurality of
said antenna elements of other concentric rings being electrically connected to said adjacent ground plane by said electronically variable reactances to provide said associated subsets of passive parasitic antenna elements, said plurality of antenna
elements of said circular array being electronically controllable to scan around the plane of the array.


8.  The antenna of claim 7 wherein said at least one of said outer concentric rings of active elements lies within the outermost concentric ring of antenna elements, and said outermost concentric ring is electrically connected to said adjacent
ground plane by electronically variable reactances providing first and second reactances to reflect the electromagnetic wave propagated by said active elements.


9.  A directional scanning large aperture phased array antenna, comprising a substantially circular array of a plurality of antenna elements extending several wavelengths in diameter, formed on a substantially planar substrate in a plurality of
concentric outer and inner rings providing said substantially circular array of antenna elements, each of said plurality of concentric rings having a plurality of antenna elements, said antenna elements of at least one of said outer concentric rings
being adapted to be connected to a source or receiver of electromagnetic energy to provide one or more active subsets of active antenna elements within a plurality of sectors of said at least one outer concentric ring, said plurality of sectors of active
antenna elements being located about said concentric ring, a plurality of a remainder of antenna elements of other concentric rings, at least on or adjacent said plurality of diameters, being electrically connected to an adjacent ground plane by
electronically variable reactances to provide selectable passive parasitic antenna elements at least on or adjacent said plurality of diameters, said active antenna elements and said passive parasitic antenna elements at least on or adjacent said
plurality of diameters providing variable direction surface wave propagation characteristics, said plurality of antenna elements of said substantially circular array being electronically controllable to scan around the plane of the array.


10.  The antenna of claim 9 wherein said at least one of said outer concentric rings of active elements lies within the outermost concentric ring of antenna elements, and said outermost concentric ring is electrically connected to said adjacent
ground plane by electronically variable reactances providing first and second reactances to reflect the electromagnetic wave propagated from or received by said active elements.


11.  The antenna of claim 9 wherein said electronically variable reactances comprise MMIC chips.


12.  The antenna of claim 9 wherein said active antenna elements are arranged to provide a phased array driven from a source of electromagnetic energy.


13.  The antenna of claim 9 wherein said active antenna elements are driven from said source of electromagnetic energy through a plurality of phase shifters.  Description  

FIELD OF THE INVENTION


This invention relates to circular, phased array antennas capable of directional scanning of the horizon, and more particularly relates to directional scanning, large aperture, phased array antennas comprising a plurality of active and parasitic
antenna elements electronically reconfigurable to provide directional scanning with high gain and surface wave propagation.


BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


A number of prior patents disclose antennas capable of operation to provide varying electromagnetic wave propagation.


U.S.  Pat.  No. 3,560,978 discloses an electronically controlled antenna system comprising a monopole radiator surrounded by two or more concentric circular arrays of parasitic elements which are selectively operated by digitally controlled
switching diodes.  In the antenna system of U.S.  Pat.  No. 3,560,978, recirculating shift registers are used to inhibit the parasitic elements in the circular arrays to produce the desired rotating wave pattern.


U.S.  Pat.  No. 3,877,047 relates to an electronically scanned, multiple element antenna array in combination with means for changing its operation between a multiple element array and an end-fire mode of operation.  In the antenna of U.S.  Pat. 
No. 3,877,014, a transmitter is switched to feed either a column array of antenna elements or the end-fire feed element.  During end-fire operation, the column array of antenna elements are short circuited.


U.S.  Pat.  No. 3,883,875 discloses a linear array antenna adopted for commutation in a simulated Doppler ground beacon guidance system.  In the end-fire commutated antenna array of U.S.  Pat.  No. 3,883,875, the linear array of n radiator
elements is combined with a transmitting means for exciting each of the n-1 of said elements in turn, and an electronic or mechanical commutator providing for successive excitation in accordance with the predetermined program.  Means are provided for
short circuiting and open circuiting each of the n-1 elements, and the short circuiting and open circuiting means is operated in such a manner that during excitation of any one of said elements, the element adjacent to the rear of the excited elements
operates as a reflector and the remaining n-2 elements remain open circuited and therefore electrically transparent.  A permanently non-excited element is located at one end of the array.


In "Reactively Controlled Directive Arrays", IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. A-26, No. 3, May, 1978, Roger F. Harrington discloses that the radiation characteristics of an n-port antenna system can be controlled by impedance
loading the ports and feeding only one or several of the ports.  In Harrington's disclosed system, reactive loads can be used to resonate a real port current to give a radiation pattern of high directivity.  As examples of the system, Harrington
discloses a circular array antenna with six reactively loaded dipoles equally spaced on a circle about a central dipole which is fed, and a linear array of dipoles with all dipoles reactively loaded and one or more dipoles excited by a source.  In
operating the circular array antenna, Harrington discloses that by varying the reactive loads of the dipoles in the circular array, it is possible to change the direction of maximum gain of the antenna array about the central fed element and indicates
that such reactively controlled antenna arrays should prove useful for directive arrays of restricted spatial extent.


U.S.  Pat.  No. 4,631,546 discloses an antenna which has a transmission and reception pattern that can electrically altered to provide directional signal patterns that can be electronically rotated.  The antenna of U.S.  Pat.  No. 4,631,546 is
disclosed as having a central driven antenna element and a plurality of surrounding parasitic elements combined with circuitry for modifying the basic omni-directional pattern of such an antenna arrangement to a directional pattern by normally
capacitively coupling the parasitic elements to ground, but on a selective basis, changing some of the parasitic elements to be inductively coupled to ground so they act as reflectors and provide an eccentric signal radiation pattern.  By cyclically
altering the connection of various parasitic elements in their coupling to ground, a rotating directional signal is produced.


U.S.  Pat.  No. 4,700,197 discloses a small linearly polarized adaptive array antenna for communication systems.  The antenna of U.S.  Pat.  No. 4,700,197 consists of a ground plane formed by an electrical conductive plate and a driven quarter
wave monopole positioned centrally within and substantially perpendicular to the ground plane.  The antenna further includes a plurality of coaxial parasitic elements, each of which is positioned substantially perpendicular to but electrically isolated
from the ground plane and arranged in a plurality of concentric circles surrounding the central driven monopole.  The surrounding coaxial parasitic elements are connected to the ground plane by pin diodes or other switching means and are selectively
connectable to the ground plane to alter the directivity of the antenna beam, both in the azimuth and elevation planes.


U.S.  Pat.  No. 3,109,175 discloses an antenna system to provide a rotating unidirectional electromagnetic wave.  In the antenna system of U.S.  Pat.  No. 3,109,175, an active antenna element is mounted on a stationary ground plane and a
plurality of parasitic antenna elements are spaced along a plurality of radii extending outwardly from the central active antenna element to provide a plurality of radially extending directive arrays.  A pair of parasitic elements are mounted on a
rotating ring, which is located between the central active antenna element and the radially extending active arrays of parasitic elements and rotated to provide an antenna system with a plurality of high gain radially extending lobes.


In addition, U.S.  Pat.  Nos.  3,096,520, 3,218,645, and 3,508,278 disclose antenna systems comprising end-fire arrays.


Antenna systems including multiple active antenna elements with phasing electronics and/or phased transmitters are disclosed, for example, in U.S.  Pat.  Nos.  3,255450, 3307,188, 3,495,263, 3,611,401, 4,090,203, 4,360,813 and 4,849,763.


Antennas comprising a plurality of antenna patches in a planar array are also known.  For example, U.S.  Pat.  No. 4,797,682 discloses a phased array antenna structure including a plurality of radiating elements arranged in concentric rings.  In
the antenna of U.S.  Pat.  No. 4,797,682, the radiating elements of each concentric ring are of the same size, but the radiating elements of different rings are different sizes.  By varying the size of the radiating elements, the position of the elements
will not be periodic and the spacing between adjacent rings will not be equal.  Thus, grating lobes are minimized so they cannot accumulate in a periodic manner.


Notwithstanding this extensive developmental effort, problems still exist with multiple element antenna arrays, particularly with the performance of large apertures steered to end-fire.


For a beam to be formed across the upper surface of an antenna array such as that shown in U.S.  Pat.  No. 4,797,682, each radiating element must be capable of delivering power across the face of the array, ultimately radiating along the ground
plane and into free space at the horizon.  In large antenna arrays consisting of plurality of antenna elements and having diameters in excess of 10 wavelengths, the elements will receive much of this power, and act like a very lossy surface.  In short,
such large arrays tend to re-absorb a large portion of the power that is intended to be radiated.  This effect is well known, and is often described in terms of mutual coupling effects, or active array reflection coefficient.


The plot in FIG. 1 describes one of the results of a 1983 Lincoln Labs study of phased arrays with wire monopole radiating elements.  Gain-referenced patterns are plotted for a single central element embedded in many sizes of square arrays on an
infinite ground plane.  FIG. 1 indicates that the horizon gain of a single element falls drastically as the size of the array increases.  For a 15-wavelength antenna, an element gain degradation of some 15.0 dB would be expected.


Similar results are obtained when comparing an isolated low-profile monopole, and the same element embedded in a 15 wavelength 1306-element circular array of identical monopoles.  In this case, such antennas were mounted on a ground plane
approximately 40 wavelengths in diameter.  The maximum measured gain of the isolated element was approximately 5.15 dBil at 10.degree.  above the horizon.  When embedded in the center of the 1306-element array, the element had measured gain of -11.1 at
10.degree.  above the horizon, corresponding to 16.25 dB degradation.


Because not all elements are effected as severely as the ones measured in the center of such an array, it is difficult to make an array gain estimate.  Furthermore, some degree of active matching is possible, which should marginally improve the
gain.  Even so, the end-fire gain of this large circular array will almost certainly not exceed 16.0 dBil, and may be as low as 13.0 dBil.  Such gain is too low for the investment in apertures, and an intolerable thermal problem will result from more
than 12.0 dB of RF power dissipation in the transit mode.


STATEMENT OF THE INVENTION


This invention provides a directional scanning antenna including a circular array of a plurality of antenna elements extending several wavelengths in diameter, the number of antenna elements being sufficient to form a plurality of
directionally-oriented subsets of active antenna elements and associated subsets of parasitic antenna elements.  An antenna feed system provides connections to each one of the plurality of antenna elements that include connections to electronically
variable reactances and connections to a source or receiver of electromagnetic energy.  The antenna feed system is controllable to provide connections between the subsets of active antenna elements providing wave propagation and reception in one or more
directions and to provide connections between a plurality of the remainder of antenna elements in associated subsets of parasitic antenna elements to assist the directionality of the antennas.


The plurality of electronically variable reactances can be used to provide a reconfigurable array, which may provide electronic scanning and surface wave enhancement at the same time, and can allow compensation for the inherently narrow operating
bandwidth of high-gain surface wave antennas.


In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the plurality of antenna elements are formed on a substantially planar surface of a dielectric substrate and the plurality of antenna elements form a plurality of concentric outer and inner rings
providing a substantially round array of antenna elements, with each of the plurality of concentric rings having a plurality of antenna elements.  The antenna elements of at least one of the outer concentric rings are adapted to be connected to said
source of electromagnetic energy to provide active antenna elements within a plurality of sectors of the at least one outer concentric ring, and the plurality of sectors of active antenna elements are located about the at least one outer concentric ring
on a plurality of diameters.  The antenna elements of other concentric rings at least on or adjacent said plurality of diameters can be electrically connected to the adjacent ground plane by the electronically variable reactances to provide selectably
parasitic antenna elements on or adjacent the plurality of diameters so that the active antenna elements and the parasitic antenna elements on or adjacent said plurality of diameters provide directional surface wave propagation characteristics, the
plurality of antenna elements of said round array being controllable to electronically scan around the plane of the array.  In such preferred embodiments, the outer concentric ring of selectively active elements can lie within the outermost concentric
ring of antenna elements, and the outermost of the outer concentric rings can be electrically connected to said adjacent ground plane by electronically variable reactances providing first and second reactances to reflect the electromagnetic wave
propagated by said active elements.


Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the drawings and detailed description of the invention which follows. 

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


FIG. 1 is a graphical prior art comparison of phased ar demonstrating the gain degradation of a single as the size of the array increases;


FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic plan view of a circular array antenna of the invention adapted to provide a plurality of active bands of elements to provide steerable horizontal wave propagation;


FIG. 3 is a diagram showing the manner of switching elements of antennas of the invention from active to parasitic modes of operation;


FIGS. 4 and 5 are diagrammatic illustrations of an antenna element feed system of an antenna of this invention such as the antenna of FIG. 2; FIGS. 4 and 5 show one manner in which electromagnetic energy can be distributed between and collected
from the antenna elements;


FIGS. 6 and 7 are diagrammatic plan views of a preferred circular phased array antenna of this invention;


FIG. 8 is a measured radiation pattern of a circular phased array antenna of the invention with 64 active elements, demonstrating an azimuthal conical pattern 10.degree.  elevation;


FIG. 9 is a measured radiation pattern of another circular phased array antenna of the invention with 128 active elements, demonstrating an azimuthal conical pattern 10.degree.  elevation;


FIG. 10 is a measured radiation pattern of a circular phased array of the invention with 64 active elements, demonstrating an elevation pattern; and


FIG. 11 is a measured radiation pattern of a circular phased array of the invention with 128 active elements, demonstrating an elevation pattern. 

BEST MODE OF THE INVENTION


FIG. 2 shows an antenna 20 of the invention in which a plurality of antenna elements 21 are formed in a circular array on a substantially planar dielectric surface.  The circular array of antenna elements 21 may be formed from a conductor-clad
printed circuit board by etching away the conductor, as well known in the microstrip antenna art.  In the antenna of the invention, the plurality of antenna elements 21 are connected, as described herein, to provide one or more active subsets of antenna
elements and associated parasitic subsets of antenna elements.  The antenna elements 21 of the circular array 20 may be provided with electronically variable reactances, as described below.


In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 2, the circular array of antenna elements may provide operation much like a plurality of parallel Yagi-Uda arrays.  The number of antenna elements is sufficient to form a plurality of active
subsets of active antenna elements and associated subsets of parasitic antenna elements.  Each of the plurality of active subsets form a band of active antenna elements like BAND A, containing active antenna elements 21a, and BAND B containing active
antenna elements 21b.  As shown in FIG. 2, BAND A and BAND B extend in different directions in the circular array.


For a given azimuth scan angle, a subset of the elements 21a in BAND A or 21b in BAND B, is selected as the active subset, analogous to the single element and reflector excitation of the Yagis.  A large number of active elements may be used to
distribute high transmit power, and so their excitation can be phased to optimize the launch efficiency of the surface wave.  To maximize broadside launch directivity, each band of active elements (i.e., BAND A with elements 21a, BAND B with elements
21b.  . . or BAND n with elements 21n) should have an extent equal to the array diameter.  The antenna elements in front of an active subset in the direction of wave propagation, such as antenna elements 21c in front of BAND B, will be parasitic, loaded
with a distribution of reactances that will maximize gain and control sidelobes in the pattern.  Antenna elements to the rear of the active band, such as antenna elements 21d to the rear of BAND B, may be loaded to suppress backlobes.  The antenna
elements 21c and 21d are parasitic antenna elements forming a parasitic subset of parasitic antenna elements associated with the BAND B active antenna elements.  As is readily apparent, associated parasitic subsets of antenna elements may be formed to
the front and rear of the active antenna elements 21a of other subsets, such as BAND A.


To change the azimuth steering angle, a different active band (compare BAND A and BAND B of FIG. 2) is chosen, as well as a different distribution of parasitic reactances.  FIG. 3 illustrates the circuit elements connected to the antenna elements
to switch them between their active and passive roles.  The variable reactance will have the same complexity as a 5-bit phase shifter with only one port.  In antennas of the invention every element can be versatile, having a full T/R module along with
the switching and variable reactance capability to become parasitic, but in many effective antennas of the invention, it is not necessary that every element have such capability and versatility.


In preferred embodiments of the invention, each antenna patch 11 can be connected to an MMIC chip or hybrid device 15 which, as shown in FIG. 3, can include the electronically variable reactance 14, and also an amplifier 16 and phase shifter 17,
and electronically controlled switching element 18 to connect the antenna patch to the ground plane 12 through electronically variable reactance 14 when the antenna patch is to operate as a parasitic element and to connect the antenna patch 11 through
the amplifier 16 and phase shifter 17 to the source of electromagnetic energy 13 when the antenna patch is to operate as an active antenna element.  The electrical connections to operate the components of the MMIC chip 15 have been omitted from the
drawings for clarity, but may be provided by appropriate electrical conductors, as known in the art.


FIGS. 4 and 5 show, as well known in the art, how electromagnetic energy may be distributed and collected from the antenna elements.  The antenna elements 21 can be organized in pairs, and connected with a compact two-way power divider/combiner
31 (FIG. 5), each with its own output connector.  The phasing between the two antenna elements of each power combiner can follow normal geometric techniques for end-fire steering.  In order to arrive at the correct phasing relationships for the rest of
the antenna element feed system, the far field phase at 10.degree.  elevation can be measured for all of the two-element arrays.  This phase data can then be used for all phasing relationships in upper levels of the antenna element feed system.


The connector ports for the plurality of two-way power divider/combiners can be organized into groups of 8, then connected to 8-way power combiners with phase-compensated cables.  FIG. 4 shows a schematic back view of a 128-way feed system 30,
which includes 16 8-way power combiners 32, further combined by 2 8-way collectors 33 and finally by a 2-way combiner 34 at the input.  Section 5--5 of FIG. 4 is shown in FIG. 5, with the connection of 8 2-element combiners 31 to one of the 16 8-way
power combiners 32.


Any required phasing can be provided by varying the lengths of cables 36 to provide the measured phase differences.  For the first level of 8-way power combiner, these differences can be small because the antenna elements 21 can be almost in a
line orthogonal to the steering direction.  The major phasing can be accomplished by the cables between the 8-way power combiners 32 and the 8-way collector boards 33, or by separate phase shifters.


As shown and described above, the invention provides a directional scanning antenna with an array of antenna elements having an extent of several wavelengths over a circular area.  The antenna elements (21) of the array are sufficient in number
to permit the formation of directionally oriented subsets of active antenna elements adapted to provide desired directional wave propagation characteristics such as beam width and direction, and to permit a subset of parasitic antenna elements adapted to
assist the subset of active antenna elements in achieving desired wave propagation characteristics.  The antennas can include an antenna element feed system providing a connection to each antenna element that can be electrically switched between an
electronically variable reactance and a source and/or receiver of electromagnetic energy.  The feed system can be controllable to provide connections between a plurality of antenna elements and the source/receiver of electromagnetic energy to form an
active subset of antenna elements to provide the desired directional wave propagation characteristics of the antenna.  The feed system can also be controllable to provide connections between a plurality of the remainder of the antenna elements and their
associated electronically variable reactances in a subset of parasitic antenna elements that provide substantially lossless assistance in achieving the desired directional wave propagation characteristics of the antenna.


In the antennas of the invention, the feed system can be controlled to provide electronic scanning of the horizon, and surface wave enhancement.  The feed system can also be controlled to vary the electronically variable reactances and/or the
number and locations of the parasitic antenna elements in the parasitic subset of antenna elements to provide from the antenna both surface wave propagation and leaky wave propagation for elevation scanning.  Furthermore, the electronically variable
reactances can allow compensation for the narrow operating bandwidth of such high gain antennas and provide an antenna capable of operating over a broader bandwidth than formerly possible.


A preferable embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 where better results may be achieved with an active band of lesser extent than the antenna shown in FIG. 2.  Thus, the antenna surface is like the antenna surface of the antenna
of FIG. 2, and it is supported adjacent a ground plane with an antenna element feed system including components like those described above, but connected and operated differently and more simply, as set forth below.  As illustrated in FIG. 6, the antenna
elements of only one or two outer rings 42, 43 (or at most, about 256 elements) need ever be active elements.  The rest of the array (or about 1,050 antenna elements) can include only the electronically variable reactances, which can be a MMIC chip with
very low weight and power requirement.  Nor is it required that the parasitic surface be made up of the same antenna elements as the active elements, as long as the reactive surface formed by the subset of parasitic antenna elements can be varied
electronically.


In the antenna 40 of FIGS. 6 and 7, the antenna elements included in the bands of active subsets are selected in different sectors (44, 45 .  . . ) of the two or more concentric rings 42, 43.  As shown in FIG. 7, surface wave excitation may be
enhanced by switchable reflector elements (46a in BAND A, 46b in BAND B) on the outermost concentric ring 46 of the array.  The remainder of the elements of the array, as before, are loaded with a distribution of reactances to achieve the desired surface
wave parameters.  Scanning, or steering of the propagated wave is again accomplished by changing the position of active elements that make up the active subset hands or sectors (44, 45 .  . . ) by locating them on different diameters (47, 48 .  . . )
aligned with the direction of beam steering (compare BAND A and BAND B).  The parasitic element distribution may also be changed.


In this embodiment of the invention, the antenna elements of at least one of the outer concentric rings 42, 43 are adapted to be connected to a source of electromagnetic energy to provide one or more active antenna elements within a plurality of
active subsets within different sectors, e.g., BAND A, BAND B, of at least one outer concentric ring 42, 43.  A plurality of different sectors of active antenna elements are located about the outer concentric ring or rings 42, 43 on a plurality of
diameters (e.g., 47, 48).  The remaining antenna elements 41 of other concentric rings at least on or adjacent said plurality of diameters (e.g., 47, 48) are electrically connected to the adjacent ground plane by electronically variable reactances to
provide selectably parasitic antenna elements on or adjacent the plurality of diameters.  The active antenna elements and the parasitic antenna elements on or adjacent said plurality of diameters can provide surface wave propagation characteristics with
first reactances of the electronically variable reactances and leaky wave propagation characteristics with second reactances of the electronically variable reactances and the plurality of antenna elements of the array can be controlled to electronically
scan around the plane of the array, and, for example, the horizon.  In preferred embodiments, at least one of said outer concentric rings 42, 43 of selectively active elements lies within the outermost concentric ring 46 of antenna elements, and the
outermost of the outer concentric rings 46 is electrically connected to the adjacent ground plane by electronically variable reactances providing first and second reactances to reflect the electromagnetic wave propagated by the subset of active elements,
e.g., BAND A and BAND B.


The antenna of FIGS. 6 and 7 may represent huge savings in weight, power requirement, complexity, reliability and cost, compared to the antenna of FIG. 2.


It is believed that the horizon gain of a 15 wavelengths circular phased array of this invention may be as high as 26 dBil.


Measurements were made with a fixed-beam antenna of the invention, built in the form of FIG. 2 with centerbands of 64 and 128 active elements, mounted on a 7.5' ground plane, which results in the peak of an end-fire beam occurring at
approximately 10.degree.  elevation.  Both elevation and azimuthal conical cuts were taken, with the conical cuts taken through the peak of the elevation beam at 10.degree..  FIGS. 8 and 9 present conical patterns for 64-element and 128-element active
arrays of the invention at 4.8 GHz.


FIG. 8 is the 10.degree.  conical for the 64-element active band.  As shown in FIG. 8, the beam is very well formed with sidelobes only slightly higher than would be expected for the uniform amplitude distribution used.  The measured peak gain
was 21.07 dBil, and the antenna suffered a loss of about 2.35 dB in the feed system.  The aperture gain for this pattern was therefore about 23.45 dBil.  Similarly, FIG. 9 is the 10.degree.  conical for the 128-element active band.  In this case, the
peak gain was 20.77 dBil with 2.65 dB loss in the feed system, yielding coincidentally the same aperture gain of 23.45 dBil.  These aperture gains correspond favorably to ideal array values of about 26 dBil, if element efficiencies, element mismatches
and mutual coupling losses are taken into account.


FIGS. 10 and 11 are the elevation patterns for the antennas with 64 elements and 128 elements, respectively.  Both elevation patterns (FIGS. 10 and 11) have extremely high sidelobe levels, which represents the direct radiation (i.e., not coupled
to the surface wave) of the active band arrays.  The elevation beam of the 128-element antenna (FIG. 11) is considerably narrower than the elevation beam of the 64-element antenna (FIG. 10).  This effect is easily explained by the higher directivity, and
resulting surface wave launch efficiency, of 4 rows steered to end-fire (128-element active band) as opposed to 2 rows (64-element active band).  The fact that the net aperture gain was almost the same in the two cases is a result of higher mutual
coupling losses in the 128-element case, since the directivity must be higher.


The table I (below) summarizes the gain results at 4.8 GHz.  A rough measurement of directivity was also made, in order to estimate the aperture efficiency, which would include element efficiency, element mismatch loss and mutual coupling loss. 
This measurement is the result of taking amplitude measurements over all space and performing the appropriate weighted summations.  Some error is to be expected due to granularity in summing over the very narrow azimuth beam, and the directivity values
obtained seem high compared to theoretical estimates in light of what appears to be non-optimum launch efficiency.


 TABLE I  ______________________________________ 64 ELEMENTS 128 ELEMENTS  ACTIVE ACTIVE  ______________________________________ GAIN 21.1 dBil 20.8 dBil  FEED LOSS 2.35 dBil 2.65 dBil  APERTURE GAIN  23.45 dBil 23.45 dBil  DIRECTIVITY 26.4 dBil
27.1 dBil  APERTURE 3.0 dB 3.7 dB  EFFICIENCY  ______________________________________


As shown above, the invention can provide a steerable high gain beam at very low angles to a planar aperture.


While certain and presently known preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated and described above, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention may be incorporated into other embodiments and antenna systems within
the scope of the invention as determined from the following claims.


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